OK...so this morning Brenda and I had Sal guide us to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. This is DEFINITELY the right place to be. It's HUGE and the patient service just couldn't be better. This is right in the midst of other top hospitals, but the Anderson facilities are second to none. We had put together an organized binder of all Brenda's medical records and tissue samples and we gave that to Dr. Hong's medical assistant...we waited for our afternoon appointment. Of course to pass the time, we went to Starbucks!!! Ha!
OK so the afternoon came and we spent about a half hour to 45 minutes getting all registered and then the 3 musketeers were shown to an exam room. Dr. Hong came in with his assistant Mary and began asking questions. He was a soft spoken man in his 60's or so. Amanda mentioned their mutual acquaintance, Dr. Hedzel and he tried to recruit Amanda as a hospitalist at MD Anderson. He had a sense of humor and was just calm in his approach. He was gentle and did a good exam on Brenda's neck and to see if other nodes were swollen. He asked good questions and said that we were in the right place and that they would come up with a plan for treatment. He was REALLY surprised that the ENT and medical oncologist back in Phoenix were so so so ready to slice and dice Brenda's neck and head. Although he didn't have their pathologist report on Brenda's tissues and there were several other tests and docs that he wanted Brenda to see, he said that surgery (the radical neck dissection) was NOT what Brenda needed for this. He really couldn't outline anything right now just because he needed his other docs and tests to do that. DANG!!! We really wanted something today, but we totally understand the care and deliberation of his approach to this rare problem.
So tomorrow...more tests and doc visits (surgeon and radiological oncologist). Then they will all confer on Wednesday, and we will have our strategy meeting with Dr. Hong on Thursday morning. Amanda heads home around 12:30 and Brenda and I head home around 3:00. We'll know the plan then...we'll FINALLY get some definitive answers from these experts and will be assured what the beast we are looking at actually is, and how to kill it.
Sorry I haven't blogged you all sooner, but they are having internet problems here at the hotel and Amanda and I have been trying to find a connection. We know all of you are starving for info. You're probably also disappointed that we don't have more info, but we feel so good that they are rallying the best and taking a thorough look at treatment options. This is what you would hope that your doctors would do when you present something quite out of the ordinary...NOT rush to the knife with incomplete info.
There are lessons here for us all. Hang in there Village and remember that we love you all for the energy and help you're giving us. You all are just the best!!! More tomorrow.